Tipping the Velvet

Nan King, an oyster girl, is aptivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty 's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At he same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
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Original Title of the Book
Tipping the Velvet
Publication Date
Published May 1st 2000 by Riverhead Books, U.S. (first published February 5th 1998

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Even odder still that the heroine of he ovel happens to stumble upon them all.

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Either the girl gets the girl/boy in the beginnin, or the girl does n't ... predicting the ending with a fifty-fifty shot at getting it right does not get this book formulaic.

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It 's s ften that I like ook, so listen up and listen well.If someone had given me the bare bones outline of Tipping the Velvet and suggest I read it, I 'd have kindly told them to piss off.

Tipping the Velvet carries a variety of themes that have bored me since my first Women 's Studies classes in college: identity, cross-dressing, gender roles, and masculinity.

Another book I ould n't put down, and alway just for the positively raunchy ( and at times touching) sex scenes that had me blushing to my hairline.

I ad the sensation then- and I hated it again in the decades that followed, every time I made a similar trip back stage- that I had stepped into the workings of a giant clock, stepped through the elegant casing to the dusty, greasy, restless machinery that lay, all hidden from the common eye, behind it. " When telling us about a dirty mirror, we 're told that the " small looking glass [ was ] as cloudy and as speckled as the back of an old an 's hand. " When discussing the ways of her tyrannical lover: " There is th way rich people have of saying 'What?' The word is honed, and has a point put on it; it comes out of their mouths like a dagger coming out of a sheath.

The work of fiction that does n't suck or make me loo like I 've gotten dumber by the time I 've finished it.

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Cross-dressing lesbians, kept women, music hall singers, renter " boys "- I mean, what 's not to like? First and foremost, this is another ook about lesbians ( my first!) and written by one at that, so as far as the relationships in th ovel are concerned, they are authentic in my thinkin.

A, indeed, does n't mean that in that book women go around doing whatever they please.

Waters accompanies Nan 's erotic adventures with a solid social context- same-sex relationships have to be secret, women known as " toms " are stigmatized, there is a legal punishment even.

Needless to say, Tipping the Velvet wo n't be my last Sarah Waters novel.P.S. Due to the naked women on the cover this edition is a little challenging to read in public.

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I ’ m a straight white male living in the conservative heartland of America who likes reading about the Civil War and drinking cheap white wine ( sometimes with ice cubes in the glass).

Crucially, when Sarah Waters sits down to write her novels, I am likely not the intended audience for which she spins her yarns.

Having enjoyed The Paying Guests, I circled back to Waters ’ first novel, Tipping the Velvet.

Set in the 1890s, Tipping the Velvet is narrated in the first-person by Nancy “ Nan ” Astley, a young gir born and raised in Whitstable, Kent, where she works in her family ’ s oyster restaurant.

( Waters gets points for many things.

When Nan opens her story, she has just begun to fall in love – from afar – with Kitty Butler, a masher who sings popular tunes while dressed in men ’ s clothing at a nearby theater.

Soon enough, like every plucky, Victorian-era protagonist, Nan leaves home to follow Kitty to the big city.

he most fundamental part of thi story is conflict, and Waters, who is a deliberative writer, carefully setting the stage and piling on details, keeps the road smooth for a shor time.

door was solid, and ad a key in it… Tipping the Velvet is crammed with descriptions like his, from dance halls and back alleys to swank mansions and late-19th century gay bars.

I don ’ t think to spoil all the surprises, but I can tel that at some point, Waters turns her keen eye for imagery to a strap-on dildo. ( Since I know you are wondering: There is sex within these pages.

Towar the nd, Waters also gets a little preachy.

Tipping the Velvet is kind to those “ toms ” who boldly and openly live their lives, while pitying characters – such as Kitty – who want to make their sexuality a secret.

Numerou times, it eads me to Sarah Waters.

Reading Tipping the Velvet, with its new spin on old motifs, is like wandering a familiar city and finding a brand new part of town.

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A story continues throughout the various changes in her life which force her to giv long internal look at not only how she views the world around her, but ofte at how she views herself.This is my first experience with historical lit that subtly invokes moments which remind me of an artistic erotic painting- sensual, moving, yet not completely garish.

Another way that it was described almost made Nan even that much more charming- as if she were different in her own very special way by having an uncommon occupation.One thing that I love to ead about in books is when the story comes full circle.

Every event in Nan 's life shapes who she is in the ext moment.

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© Nicole Waggonner